When I packed my bags for my family's biannual trip to Big Elbow Lake, I knew it would be a memorable year. This year, my brother and cousin would each bring a newborn baby—two brand new Wurdeman offspring to join the family tradition. My other brother would be getting married during our vacation, drawing his new wife and step-son into our fold. But I could not have guessed that this year's trip would lay the entire spectrum of Wurdeman life out before us—that we would watch one earthly life close as we welcomed others in.

My heart ached for Ruby at first, when I began to suspect that she would die so far from her Kansas City home. But as I stood among family at her bedside, glancing at Ruby's baby sister and lifelong roommate, Naomi (the last remaining of eight siblings), I began to understand that God's Hand was in this, guiding our family together to be beside Ruby in her moment of passing, beside Naomi and one another in our moment of loss.

My dad called an old friend on our way to the hospital—a pastor in Fargo—and when we met at Ruby's bedside, the Wurdemans linked hands around her as the pastor read scripture and led us in "The Lord's Prayer," a common prayer in the Christian church. I squeezed my father's hand and absorbed the steady of voices of my family . . . of my father and my aunt, my uncle and my brother.

"Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed by Thy Name . . ."

Eight days later, the same pastor led us in the same prayer, my family's voices rising in unison again, our hearts joined around my brother and his bride.

We prayed for spritual growth, for forgiveness and grace, for strength and wisdom. We asked that His Kingdom come, that His Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. This time it was my brother whom I watched, remembering the road that brought him to his bride, the frustrations and losses that forced him on toward a greater love. I knew again that God was there, his presence filling the little lakeside chapel as the voices of those I loved most murmured their prayers and praises in that quiet, Wurdeman way. I understood then that—generation to generation—God cradles my family in His hands. The newly born to the newly wed to the newly reborn, we are held in His love and protected by His will.

Thank God for that.

Pulse of the Generations

We raise our faces to You.
You who has sustained
countless generations
With the steadiness of Your love,
With the strength of Your wisdom.
You are the blood that unites us.
You are the pulse that revives us.
You are where we begin,
where we end,
Where we are.

I look to You
with soul-bursting gratitude
for the blessing of family
and the gift of Your Presence
within and around us.

-Abi Wurdeman

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